Coach Fernand Lopez Says Francis Ngannou Is ‘Savage’ And That His Best Is To Come
Both men are with in touching distance of a title shot at champion Stipe Miocic and a win on Saturday could see them get a title shot in early 2018. Ngannou has five wins out of five in the UFC and on Saturday, he gets the opportunity to take out a fighter who has been heralded as one of the best heavyweights to ever grace the UFC Octagon.
One man who has overseen his rise is his coach Fernand Lopez, the owner of the MMA Factory Paris in France. Speaking exclusively today to MMANytt.com, Lopez gave his opinion on the upcoming fight and how he expects Ngannou to get the job done.
“I think Francis will knockout Overeem in the first round,” Lopez said. “Francis is a very smart guy though. People are talking about how powerful and strong he is, but actually is his best quality is his brain. He knows how to process, learn and adapt as the fight goes on. He evolves in rounds. If he makes a mistake, he corrects it right away. Francis will not follow Overeem.
“We know Overeem will try set a trap, but Francis will be too clever for it.”
“Francis will find an opportunity and knock Overeem out, but if Overeem is running too much, he won’t chase him and he will adapt.
“The fight will finish will a knockout, but I don’t see how Overeem can beat Francis in the wrestling, grappling or striking [departments].
“People just don’t know what this guy can do yet. It’s scary how good he is”
Don’t doubt him on the mat
While Ngannou is widely being publicized as one of the strongest and most deadly strikers in the division, Lopez says that it’s another aspect of his game that may catch people off-guard.
“They think they can play with him in the wrestling, but Francis trains with the top wrestlers in the French national team,” Lopez said. “Those three guys will try spar with Francis, but Francis will be the one taking them down and controlling them.
“Francis trains with best in the country in Paris.”
“Trust me, they just don’t know how well-rounded he is. They will be surprised by his wrestling and his conditioning. Francis will win this any way he needs to do. I think he [Overeem] will be KO’d, but if it goes three rounds Francis will also win the decision.”
Get ready for him to dominate
Ngannou made it perfectly clear earlier in the week that he has his eye on champion Miocic after beating Overeem and Lopez says his student is more than ready to dominate the UFC heavyweight division.
“Stipe is the best in the division because he’s smart, he’s powerful and one of his best qualities is his ability to level change,” Lopez said. “He can change level anytime and he can go from boxing to wrestling, from wrestling to boxing, at anytime. But, the brutality that Francis can bring to the game, it will stop him.
“On the road to doing that level change, something will happen to Stipe and he will get hurt.
“This guy is a savage. Francis is savage. You think I’m trying to build hype and that I’m just trying to back my guy, but no, he’s something else. He’s something different.”
“When you meet him you know something isn’t wrong and something isn’t good. Everyone who spars with him is amazed. But, of course, a fight is a fight and anything can happen on Saturday. Believe me though, I don’t see how Francis can lose this fight. He will KO Overeem and then it’s Stipe.
Ready to be a champion
By all accounts, it appears that Ngannou has been training for a fighter like Miocic since day one and Lopez feels his man will be very prepared for the fight by the time they step inside the Octagon.
“I get it, Stipe is clever, fast and he understands MMA,” Lopez said. “I’ve been training Francis for Stipe’s ability to level change since day one with the best at the MMA Factory.
“We train pure MMA. He will be used to this and the power, the speed and the conditioning will overwhelm Stipe. He will have the belt and then he will keep the belt for a very, very long time.”